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Muttontown mayoral candidates spar over spending

Muttontown's mayor says she is seeking re-election to help strengthen the village's fiscal stability, while her opponent says he's running for the four-year post because he thinks taxpayer money is being mishandled.

Incumbent Julianne Beckerman, 45, of the Concerned Taxpayers Party, is facing Pericles Linardos, 49, of the People's Liberty Party.

"It's not easy in these days in government to continue to provide services and do that in a way that you show fiscal restraint," Beckerman said, touting the fact that this year's budget had no tax increase.

Linardos said he sued the village in 2011 because the decision to create a local police department was not brought to a referendum.

A State Supreme Court judge denied his petition. "I'm very confused to why my opponent wants to do away with the department," Beckerman said.

But Linardos said he would not abolish the police department, adding, "All I see to do is enhance them" with additional training and equipment.

Linardos also challenged the village's spending, especially on litigation.

He said the village could use the money elsewhere, specifically citing last year's $1.45 million federal jury award to former Muttontown trustee Richard Entel, who sued the village in a land deal.

Entel's attorney E. Christopher Murray said that the village asked for a stay in that jury's award, which his client has agreed to, pending the village's motion for a judgment in its favor.

"Taxpayers haven't had a penny of their funds used to pay for this case," Beckerman said. The village's legal fees were covered by its insurance, but Linardos' suit cost taxpayers, she said.

Linardos said he wouldn't have sued if the decision had been put to a referendum.

Linardos owns the Certification Center in Flushing, which offers health care and safety training. He is also a volunteer firefighter and paramedic for the East Norwich and Port Washington fire departments.

Linardos is running on a slate with the three trustee challengers: George Chalos, Russell Orenstein and James Ronaghan.

Chalos, 43, a resident for five years, is an international lawyer.

Orenstein, 53, a resident since 1973, is a publishing consultant.

Ronaghan couldn't be reached for comment.

Beckerman, a resident of 21 years, is running with the three incumbent trustees: Julie Albernas, who was appointed to fill a vacancy on the board; Carl Juul-Nielsen; and Salvatore Benisatto.

Albernas, 50, is also the police commissioner and chairwoman of the Site and Architectural Review Board. She is a resident of 14 years.

Juul-Nielsen, an equine veterinarian, is finishing his second term on the board. A village resident for 32 years, he is married and has two children.

Benisatto, 64, an lawyer and resident for 25 years, is finishing his first term as a trustee. He is also the Planning Board chairman.

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